Estimating the economic value of soil organic carbon for grains cropping systems in Western Australia

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Abstract

© CSIRO 2016.Soil organic carbon (SOC) has the potential to benefit soil function and fertility, and in agricultural production systems, it is considered integral to sustainable farming. We analyse the value of SOC in cropping systems of the south-west of Western Australia in terms of agronomic benefits from increasing productivity (through increased plant-available water-holding capacity) and reducing fertiliser use (due to increased mineralisation of nitrogen). We also present the potential value of SOC in terms of sequestration benefit if landholders were able to participate in a carbon-sequestration program. We estimate the marginal value of SOC (the value of a soil with more SOC, by 1tC/ha, than a standard soil) to be AU$7.1-8.7/tC.ha.year, depending on rainfall zone and crop type. Approximately 75% of this value is the estimated sequestration value, 20% is the nitrogen-replacement value, and 5% is the estimated productivity improvement value. Over 50 years, this equates $130-160/tC.ha depending on the rainfall zone. These values are sensitive to variations in fertiliser and carbon prices. Our results imply this it is unlikely that the SOC benefits will drive practice change in the south-west of Western Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-396
JournalSoil Research
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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economic valuation
soil organic carbon
Western Australia
cropping systems
cropping practice
organic carbon
economics
soil
fertilizers
rain
carbon markets
plant available water
fertilizer
nitrogen
sustainable agriculture
carbon sequestration
water holding capacity
productivity
rainfall
soil fertility

Cite this

@article{19ac189aded245ab87d887e8d8a8435e,
title = "Estimating the economic value of soil organic carbon for grains cropping systems in Western Australia",
abstract = "{\circledC} CSIRO 2016.Soil organic carbon (SOC) has the potential to benefit soil function and fertility, and in agricultural production systems, it is considered integral to sustainable farming. We analyse the value of SOC in cropping systems of the south-west of Western Australia in terms of agronomic benefits from increasing productivity (through increased plant-available water-holding capacity) and reducing fertiliser use (due to increased mineralisation of nitrogen). We also present the potential value of SOC in terms of sequestration benefit if landholders were able to participate in a carbon-sequestration program. We estimate the marginal value of SOC (the value of a soil with more SOC, by 1tC/ha, than a standard soil) to be AU$7.1-8.7/tC.ha.year, depending on rainfall zone and crop type. Approximately 75{\%} of this value is the estimated sequestration value, 20{\%} is the nitrogen-replacement value, and 5{\%} is the estimated productivity improvement value. Over 50 years, this equates $130-160/tC.ha depending on the rainfall zone. These values are sensitive to variations in fertiliser and carbon prices. Our results imply this it is unlikely that the SOC benefits will drive practice change in the south-west of Western Australia.",
author = "Elizabeth Petersen and Hoyle, {Frances C.}",
year = "2016",
doi = "10.1071/SR15101",
language = "English",
volume = "54",
pages = "383--396",
journal = "Australian Journal of Soil Research",
issn = "0004-9573",
publisher = "Blackwell",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Estimating the economic value of soil organic carbon for grains cropping systems in Western Australia

AU - Petersen, Elizabeth

AU - Hoyle, Frances C.

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - © CSIRO 2016.Soil organic carbon (SOC) has the potential to benefit soil function and fertility, and in agricultural production systems, it is considered integral to sustainable farming. We analyse the value of SOC in cropping systems of the south-west of Western Australia in terms of agronomic benefits from increasing productivity (through increased plant-available water-holding capacity) and reducing fertiliser use (due to increased mineralisation of nitrogen). We also present the potential value of SOC in terms of sequestration benefit if landholders were able to participate in a carbon-sequestration program. We estimate the marginal value of SOC (the value of a soil with more SOC, by 1tC/ha, than a standard soil) to be AU$7.1-8.7/tC.ha.year, depending on rainfall zone and crop type. Approximately 75% of this value is the estimated sequestration value, 20% is the nitrogen-replacement value, and 5% is the estimated productivity improvement value. Over 50 years, this equates $130-160/tC.ha depending on the rainfall zone. These values are sensitive to variations in fertiliser and carbon prices. Our results imply this it is unlikely that the SOC benefits will drive practice change in the south-west of Western Australia.

AB - © CSIRO 2016.Soil organic carbon (SOC) has the potential to benefit soil function and fertility, and in agricultural production systems, it is considered integral to sustainable farming. We analyse the value of SOC in cropping systems of the south-west of Western Australia in terms of agronomic benefits from increasing productivity (through increased plant-available water-holding capacity) and reducing fertiliser use (due to increased mineralisation of nitrogen). We also present the potential value of SOC in terms of sequestration benefit if landholders were able to participate in a carbon-sequestration program. We estimate the marginal value of SOC (the value of a soil with more SOC, by 1tC/ha, than a standard soil) to be AU$7.1-8.7/tC.ha.year, depending on rainfall zone and crop type. Approximately 75% of this value is the estimated sequestration value, 20% is the nitrogen-replacement value, and 5% is the estimated productivity improvement value. Over 50 years, this equates $130-160/tC.ha depending on the rainfall zone. These values are sensitive to variations in fertiliser and carbon prices. Our results imply this it is unlikely that the SOC benefits will drive practice change in the south-west of Western Australia.

U2 - 10.1071/SR15101

DO - 10.1071/SR15101

M3 - Article

VL - 54

SP - 383

EP - 396

JO - Australian Journal of Soil Research

JF - Australian Journal of Soil Research

SN - 0004-9573

IS - 4

ER -